Landscape Story

Nepal_LandscapeThe target landscape selected for COMDEKS activities in Nepal is an area comprising 10 contiguous Village Development Committees: Handikhola, Bharta, Raksirang, Kankada, Dandakharka, Khairang, Kalikatar, Namtar, Manahari and Sarikhet, of the north-west Makawanpur district, central Nepal. The landscape is a watershed section of the Manahari River, which drains into the Rapti River. The geological and climatic conditions in these watershed areas have resulted in the extremes of landslides, flooding and wild fires, among others. As a result the target area has being recognized as one of Nepal’s most hazard prone zones.

Biological Impact

Manhari bazar with ufferzone of Parsa wildlfe and Chitwan National park Southern Boundary

Manhari River

The total land area of the landscape is 78,900 ha, only 8% are cultivated and nearly half the area is covered by forest. Although the topography and geology of the target landscape is fragile and prone to landslide and flooding, land use practices in the region are also equally to blame. Slash and burn agriculture practiced by the indigenous Chepangs and Tamangs in increasingly shorter fallow period on the steep slopes of the areas is associated with deforestation, loss of biodiversity, threat of forest fires, emissions of greenhouse gases, and serious soil erosion, leading to a significant decline in land productivity. Other practices such as plantation of maize in steep outward terrace has also led to significant loss of topsoil thus increasing surface run off. The consequent alluvial deposits in the river valleys have triggered the rise of riverbeds threatening the very existence of the near-by settlements.

Socio-Economic impact

The target landscape area is inhabited by over 13,378 households with 77,812 people, 52% are indigenous Tamangs and 17% are Chepangs, which are regarded as the most marginalized and resource poor groups in Nepal. Several poverty “hot spots” have been identified where the livelihoods of local populations are threatened by very low food security levels, education, and access to basic services, which are compounded by landscape degradation associated with deforestation. The main concern regarding the Khoriyakheti (slash and burn agriculture) practiced in traditional farming systems is the inequitable land tenure arrangements and limited access to other natural resources. Their access to lands and forests traditionally used or occupied by them has diminished drastically over time, with exclusionary policies on land, forest, and nature conservation further impacting food security and unsustainable land degradation.

Baseline Assessment

Preworkshop at Daman Makawanpur

Preworkshop at Daman Makawanpur

The baseline assessment was carried out in all 10 selected Village Development Committees (VDC s) . The assessment included a rigorous pre-workshop to define the SEPL indicators to 32 key stakeholders from the government, NGOs, the media and community members of selected VDCs. A study-team of experts including agro-forestry and GIS professionals, engineers and rural officers was formed with the mandate to carry out the field surveys and workshops exercise in each of the 10 selected VDCs. Twenty randomly selected community members were invited to participate in the socio-ecological production landscape and seascapes  indicators (SEPLS) at each VDC-level workshop, to help measure and understand the resilience of the target landscape. The SEPLS scorecard results were consolidated into a VDC- level radar diagrams and additional gender based radar diagrams were completed. The results of the SEPLS indicators as well as field analysis revealed that the main concerns were the recurrent floods and landslides affecting the target landscape, the effects of slash and burn agriculture and the resulting deforestation, the loss of agricultural biodiversity and the sharp decline in agriculture productivity of cereals and vegetables, perhaps due to global climate change which begin to manifest clearly in terms of increasing mean minimum temperatures and decreasing rainfall trends.

Landscape Strategy

The overall long-term objective of the COMDEKS Landscape Strategy is to enhance socio-ecological production landscape resilience through community-based activities. The COMDEKS Country program in Nepal seeks to achieve the following outcomes:

a) Buffer capacity of key ecosystems against extreme weather events enhanced in 10 VDCs of west Makawanpur.

b) Maintain and protect agricultural biodiversity and genetic resources in the target landscape through conservation and diversification in farming practices.

c) Enhance communities’ livelihoods through community development activities and land-use diversification.

d) Support community-based institutional governance structures for effective participatory decision making and local knowledge exchange at the landscape level.

Country Projects

The COMDEKS project seeks to bring about community development, learning, and knowledge sharing by making available small grants to community organizations to help them maintain and manage more resilient socio-ecological production landscapes. The types of community projects that will be supported by COMDEKS Nepal to achieve socio-ecological production landscape resilience include: community seed banks to promote local and resistant varieties that are tolerant to pest, diseases, droughts and other extreme environmental threats; Farmer’s Field School to promote integrated pest management practices; innovative water conserving technologies; agricultural and agro forestry systems including alley cropping , silvo-pasture , windbreaks and shelter belts, riparian forest buffers and forest farming technologies in the context of climate change adaptation; alternative energy technologies. More information to come… New! COMDEKS Country Programme Landscape Strategy for Nepal can be downloaded here.



Project Contact

Mr. Gopal Sherchan
National Coordinator
Phone:+ (977-1) 500 0119/ 5523 200/ 552 3986
Fax:+ (977-1) 553 0269/ 552 3991/ 552 3986

Mr. Vivek Sharma
Programme Assistant
Phone:+ 00977-1-5000119
Fax:+ 00977-1-5530269

UNDP, P.O. Box 107 , Kathmandu